It’s Vietnam in 1968 – the Battle of Hue City (pronounced “way”), and the mission is called “Slaughterhouse”. You are a US soldier searching for intelligence in a former CIA stronghold that was overrun by the North Vietnamese. The mission begins with you in a chopper, flying through a sky colored red by the glow of the burning city reflecting off the clouds of smoke and ash. You begin to rappel down, but your chopper is hit, which sends you unceremoniously careening into a nearby office building. Luckily, you crash through a window and land safely. Another soldier named Woods, tattooed and grizzled, throws you a combat shotgun and you set about shooting your way down to street level.
Above: That’s not the light of the setting sun. It’s the glow of a city on fire
Players who recall the White House level in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 should find themselves in tensely familiar territory here. Slaughterhouse is all about close-quarters urban combat. The only differences are that you’re bombarded by angry Vietnamese soldiers at every turn and a helicopter gunship occasionally shows up to strafe a swath of destruction right through the walls, shattering glass and sending splinters and shrapnel everywhere. Technically, they’re on your side, but you still have to be careful.
Oh, one other new thing that bears mentioning: one of your new weapons is a shotgun armed with “Dragon’s Breath” shells. They work just like the name implies: Pull trigger, watch bad guy get knocked back and burst into flames. Lovely stuff.
Above: Civilians being slaughtered in the streets. As usual, the CoD series is pulling no punches in regard to the horror of war
Down on the streets, it’s just as chaotic. The enemy is killing civilians and soldiers with equal prejudice. A small group of American men are pinned down by enemies who’ve taken the high ground in what looks like a bombed-out apartment complex, so you borrow their radio and call in a helicopter strike. Almost instantly, a gunship arrives and unloads into the crumbling structure – we only hope it doesn’t come crashing down upon us. Slaughterhouse then becomes an escort mission, with the player guiding an armored APC (named “Bottom Feeder”) through the streets. The demo ended before we were shown the end of this level, but knowing this series, we’d be shocked if the Bottom Feeder didn’t meet some horrible, yet awesome end by Slaughterhouse’s finale. Call it a hunch.
Above: We didn’t actually see this level, but considering Woods shows up in Hue City, there’s a good chance you’re in the jungles of Vietnam
We’ve no hard details yet on multiplayer modes, but as the movie fades and the lights come back up, one of Treyarch’s boys points out that Call of Duty: Black Ops will feature co-op play for four-players online and two players in split-screen. Nice touch. Woods and Brooks seem like great wingmen, but we feel like this one might be something best experienced with our own real-life band of brothers.
May 27, 2010